When his niece’s house was destroyed by a powerful earthquake that rocked parts of Ecuador and Peru on Saturday, Juan Vera lost three family members.
The government has volunteered to cover the costs of the woman’s funeral and those of her infant and partner, but Vera questions why local officials first permitted his relatives to reside in such a dilapidated house.
Vera stated as he waited for the release of the three victims outside the morgue in the Ecuadorian town of Machala.
“Due to its age, that structure should have been dismantled already,” he added. I’m sorry, but the mayor’s office is the organization that needs to control these things through its planning departments to ensure that the structures are fit for habitation or rent.
According to the United States, the earthquake was roughly 6.8. Geological Survey struck towns from the highlands to the coast and caused at least 15 fatalities, hundreds of injuries, and collapsed homes and buildings.
But regardless of location, many of the homes that collapsed in Ecuador housed the underprivileged, were dilapidated, and did not adhere to building codes in the country’s earthquake-prone region.
The earthquake’s epicenter was located about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Guayaquil, the second-largest city in Ecuador, just off the Pacific coast.
One of the fatalities passed away in Peru, while 14 others passed away in Ecuador, where authorities reportedly reported at least 381 injuries and extensive damage to dozens of homes, schools, and medical facilities.
Twelve of the fatalities were declared dead by the office of Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso, while two more perished in the state of Azuay in the highlands.
According to the Risk Management Secretariat, Ecuador’s emergency response organization, one of the Azuay casualties was a passenger in a car mangled by debris from a house in the Andean town of Cuenca.
The organization also said that some persons in El Oro were trapped under debris. A pier broke way, a building’s walls crumbled, and a two-story house in the Machala neighborhood collapsed before residents could flee, trapping an undetermined number of people.
According to architect Germán Narváez of Quito, the homes most impacted by earthquakes are those built improperly and lacking in foundation, structure, and technical design.
He continued that the houses are likewise old and were constructed with materials like adobe, which were previously widely employed in Andean villages.
These frequently collapse during seismic disturbances, he claimed.
Particularly vulnerable to earthquakes in Ecuador. More than 600 people were murdered in a more sparsely populated region of the country in 2016 by an earthquake located farther north on the Pacific Coast.
From Peru’s northern border with Ecuador to the country’s central Pacific coast, the earthquake was felt there.
According to Alberto Otárola, the prime minister of Peru, a 4-year-old girl died from head injuries she sustained when her home collapsed in the Tumbes region near the Ecuadorian border.
According to reports from Peruvian officials, the old walls of an Army barracks in Tumbes crumbled, and four dwellings were damaged.
The earthquake completely damaged Dolores Vaca’s Machala home on Saturday. She claimed that she fled into the street as soon as she felt the initial shock while her husband was able to get their daughter out. After that, “everything went apart, the house was flattened, everything was lost,” she claimed.
Not as fortunate was Vaca’s neighbors. She claimed that five people perished when the house adjacent to hers fell.
Authorities in Guayaquil, 170 miles (270 kilometers) southwest of Quito, reported wall collapses and fissures in homes and structures. Videos posted on social media show crowds assembled in Guayaquil, the metro area’s largest city with roughly 3 million residents, and neighboring towns.
Three show anchors were seen scurrying from their studio desks in one internet video when the set shook. They initially attempted to dismiss it as a slight tremor but soon withdrew from the camera. Another anchor repeated, “My God, my God,” as one announced that the show would go to commercial.
A tsunami warning was disregarded in a report from Ecuador’s Adverse Events Monitoring Directorate.
Student Katherine Cruz from Machala reported that the shaking in her residence was so severe that she could not leave her bed and run to the street.
“That was awful. Never in my life had I felt anything like this, she remarked.